REVIEW: Nettwerk 10th Anniversary Concert

(February 1995, The Vogue Theatre, Vancouver, BC)

This is a rambly review and I could edit it but will for now leave it as it was originally posted to the fumbling-towards-ecstasy mailing list. (Actually it is as it was the second time it was posted to that list since, as I note in the text, the first time a large chunk of text was somehow snipped out by the listserv or the satellite or something.)

Well, I wouldn't call this a review, just an attempt at
transcribing my own handwriting in the dark the other night,
with some added stuff from memory (I of course put away my
notebook during the last set).   I will probably tidy it
up a lot before sending it to ecto and,
if ever.

On the way to the concert, I was feeling quite good, with
some nice chi waves in the back of the bus as we moved
over the bridge.   But once I entered the Vogue concert
hall this faded quickly, the air in the balcony was quite
warm, stuffy and dead, plus perhaps the hall acoustics were
not giving me the right harmonics.   Still, I did enjoy
the concert and had some mild effects, which I won't
describe (or will I?) during the later sets.   But I  don't
think I will get a balcony seat there again, the air must
have been better down below.

Over the course of the night there was a video retrospective,
with video clips from various artists, during the set breaks,
plus some semi-acoustic sets  from special guests.   I could
have done without the videos, although they did give me a
chance to hear other nettwerk artists, but not rest my eyes
and reorient to directions other than straight   ahead during
the breaks.    Plus the one strange artist I liked the most
I managed to miss their/her name both times (two videos).
Single Gun Theory videos didn't impress me too much, they
were not projecting.   Sarah's  Hold On video came on when
I was on my way to the washroom, I paused but the usher
shoo-ed me off the stairs, saying "you don't want to see
this" (not really, she said to sit down but I decided to
wait for the real thing, not coke but she sure cooks (me).

I've lost my program or it is on my fridge, but here goes.

The first special guest was Ralph the beat poet, who you can
check out on the nettwerk www site, I think.   I forget his
last name.   Naturally there were backing musicians.  It
was  entertaining but lacked a hit, or smelled of an era of
too many hits.   The poetry was more framed by the beats
than born of the beats.   Cute, but no tears.   Still I
think I would check it out again, in a more intimate venue,
perhaps Reading Railroad  or   Tongue of the Slip, and also
later at night.   The first act always is the hardest spot,
although I bet following Sarah would be harder.   So may
the beat go on.

The first feature act was  Brainbox.   They sounded mildly
interesting at first but I got bored after a little while,
however those of you who like spacy instrumental dance music
should check them out.   It sounded like background music
for some space cop show, mildly interesting, with the 
twisted edge that would be bad for me if I was in a mixed
state (when I have enough edge, and need safe curves).
I couldn't hear the drums very well, and the keys were 
piercing, but I think that was intentional.   But by doing
that the coupling between rhythm section and keys is lost.
Of course, a drum machine could be programmed to spawn off
the keys somehow, or the other way around, or even a back
and forth interplay, with control slipping.    It was OK
for a while but wore quickly.   All instrumental and
without much direction or building of momentum.   And there
were no twinges, or maybe one, in the late stage they did
some pseudo-whale noises and  I felt a cool breeze effect.
Anyway, they would be OK dance music for those of you who
like one-purpose music, but this wasn't a dance.   And I
can get spaced out quite nicely by myself.

The second special guest act was  Taste of Joy  and  I liked
them, although again the bass wasn't coming through to me.
I liked them enough that I may check them out opening for
Art Bergmann if it hasn't sold out by the time I get around
to getting ticket(s), probably at the door.   They looked
a bit tired though so I tried to send them some energy (yeah, sure).
Maybe there was a good party Friday.

The second feature act was  Mystery Machine (who's Miss Terry?).
I was quite impressed with the rhythm section this time,
especially the drummer, maybe his kit sounded crisp too
but I forgot to check the kit name.  The first song was
garagish, but they are a cooking, tight band.   I couldn't
make out the lyrics until I shaped my ear to receive them,
and the singer could use some more singing lessons for
proper flow, less reading effect, and the other guys should
learn harmony.   But they are young and I think they have
a lot of potential if they play their cards right.  I think
they must have missed that party.   Oh, despite the good
rhythm section, in my seat I wasn't getting any sub-bass.
Also they still have too much wank-off-ishness [or is that
wank-of-fish-ness] and not  enough use of 
space/intensity-building/transition but again
they are young and may grow  out of it.   The song title
"Horn of Plenty"  made me laugh, next to it I wrote down
"horn of plain tea" but don't think that is the only reason.
The song endings need work, they sort of peter out instead
of coming to a strong climax (next to this I had something
written down "lyrics/?????" but can't read it).

Then there was a speech, patting everyone on the back
for a job well started.

The third feature act was  Rose Chronicles.   They had a much
cleaner sound than when I heard them at UBC, but again, where
I was sitting the lyrics were very hard to make out; perhaps
this could be helped by doing separate and complementary
EQs and effect parameter setting for voice and r.o.b. (rest
of band), the voice content zone and instruments EQ overlap
too much, so that there is tension, unlike with Sarah, when
the band is really there to back her up, plus her voice has
a wider content zone (what the hel do I mean by that?).

So anyway, I    hate straining to hear lyrics, I'm not
always able to make my own up.  Also I found that Kristy
sometimes did not project quite enough, was in a little
bit of a shell, and perhaps could use more work on singing
without a mic, i.e., opera style lessons.   But probably that;
that the voice was not in ear and brain at the same time, 
was due to the EQ overlap and the fact that I was not familiar
with the music and so could not anticipate and sing along
internally as I can do with   Ms. McLachlan's   magic music.   
So anyway, I think a band should back up and complement a
singer and not overpower her, and that good lyrics can transform
a mediocre band into a good one, for me.   Still, I liked
them, and may get the recording, but don't plan to strain
live again soon (oh, but my CD player just died).   They
were seething but had no higher dimensional projection,
or were seething but contained, not moving.???

Oh, another reason I was getting down, as well as the bad air,
was the sit down venue, I guess I hate getting squished into
a little space, depending on who is squishing me.   I was on
the aisle but people were continually going by, and the guy
to my right seemed to need more than his share of space, so
I  was twisted to the left, and oddly enough my usual
tendency is to twist to the right, and put my heart side 
forward, a little too often, in kitchen or computer chair.
So I wish I had gotten the seat on the other side of the aisle
as planned.   (Now, that is crazy, right?)   Plus the hot,
stuffy, dark balcony was putting me  to sleep.

The next special guest was  singer/songwriter  Tara McClean,
who is featured on a compilation CD to benefit Rape Crisis
Centres in Canada, maybe that will get promoted around
International Women's Day.    Anyway, she was good, sounded
almost as good as some of the acts I book, and I hope to
hear her in a more intimate venue someday.   She was backed
by Ash Sood  and  Stephen Nikleva, and got a very warm
response from | the audience.   I didn't write down any
details though.

[In the garbled version, it was clipped from "response from"
to the line in the Sarah section "think she was barefoot",
i.e., everything from the vertical bar above to the next one
was deleted.   What's this about feet and carpet?  And no,
I didn't do that, the listserv did, or the satellite.]

Then Kristy Thirsk did an acoustic version of  Fleetwood Mac's
Songbird and I heard her clearly, she is a good singer but
still, for me, somehow she sounds as though she is behind 
a wall, needs to open up and project.   Probably it is 
just something in the inflection, an upturn or downturn.
Or maybe it was just that it is supposed to be a sad song.

The next feature act, Ginger, had some minor technical
difficulties in the first song and seemed a bit uptight
at first, I thought Ginger could use a little ale :-).
Also during the first song I was not super impressed with
the rhythm section, but that was because the song was
an intense fast one, difficult to sing and play bass
at the same time.   But they rock, I like them better
than I did the Grapes of Wrath.   

    Then, later, I said that the above was actually not
true, the bass/drum work  in the later songs was very
good, and also some exemplary distinctive slide guitar
work, it might be nice to overlap the slides somehow.
But the keyboard wasn't cutting through to me, it may
have been a location thing.   

    I thought at first that singer Tom Hooper was just
laying the lyrics there, not projecting, just saying
admire these and not making you admire them.  But
he/they had good stage presence, and then later in
the set he seemed to loosen up and really project.
I guess that is the problem of 20 minute sets with
short sound checks early in the night.   Oh, and
one note I made was that he could sing slow songs
with more emotion, but that is often the case.

     This ginger would start the rocking horse.
The song  Ocean Dream   impressed me --- gentle waves,
followed by a pacific storm,  then a fading, then, just as  we
thought it was over, an atlantic storm.   I forget if there
were gentle waves at the end, or if there is an end.
The video for this could be good, waves of love, waves of
sea, the sun rises in her eyes, the tide rises in her thighs,
my heart rises with her smiles...

   Earlier on Sat I had walked at Kits at high tide, later
I would walk there near low tide looking for markings in
the sand, and soothing the heart.   During the song, and
maybe during the next set, I linked with the  beach (I
had said to the sea "come with me to the concert") and
also  with a furious Atlantic outflow wind of last Jan.6.
Anyway, on Sunday we got a good wind storm, of course not
as strong as the one on Avalon but for  here OK, it
perked me up and held my sleep to 3--4 hours (back to 7--8
last night, no worry).

     Oh, back to Ginger, at one point I also visualized the
5-some as at points of a 5-star (apple sliced sideways)
or pentagram (cabal of 5 grandmothers, I wonder if Ginger
all have grandmothers with the same first name), this was in
the pounding storm at the tail end of O.D.

OK, now, on to what you've been waiting for.  Sarah's set
was great, rocking from the start since the 20 minute sets
give no time for the usual acoustic foreplay, it was like
a relaxed jam-ish set in front of the hometown crowd, replete
with the usual cries, flowers, proposals.    Sarah was glowing, dressed
casually but looking very much the confident woman, the embodiment of
natural health, well rested and smiling at almost every chance.
I most definitely take back the papal c  remark, not that I ever
really meant it.    I also take back the "only
her hairdresser knows" comment, she obviously hasn't had that
beautiful mane of hair cut in a goodly enough while.   It would
be scarilege to cut that down to waif length again, although
probably would take a while for one  to wash.   Anyway, she
moist definitely has changed for the better since I first
saw her at the Town Pump, the shy talented waif with the
pale face and mournful eyes; now she glows in audiovisual+ .
Also she had a beautiful rug spread out under her feet (I
don't | think she was barefoot though), and thus converted the
whole room, by magic carpet ride, into her living room.

[so the garbled version snip ended at the vertical bar above]

Anyway, that was just for those of you who like to  talk
about her appearance.   Now, during her set I put away the
notebook,  and didn't write down the set list, so much of
this is from  memory.   She did  Possession first, a 
rocking version, I didn't sing along inside but just listened.
At the very beginning her voice sounded a little strange, and
I thought, oh, no, she has a cold.... no, she's hung... 
but that disappeared after the first couple of words/notes,
really it was just a hook to get the audience to pay attention,
something different to make them listen, and  then she hit
us with the waves of voice.    Then she did Elsewhere,
Good Enough (dedicated to Earth Day, and I also dedicated
it inside as well to International Women's Day March 8),
and it sure was good enough, but I suddenly felt not good enough
(to finish my thesis?).   Then she did  Hold On, I made sure
to stay put for this one, never move for those thorns of
acupuncture (but dance  to the piper, and wake up and smell
the roses)???????

    At one point I was mildly cooked (by bass waves) in the
seat, but not as much in the hands as I have been when I'm  
up close doing sound, e.g., Wingnuts' or other bass players 
with good amps or something.  Again my location was such that 
I mustn't have been getting much sub-bass or perhaps it was 
coming from above instead of below.  And for Sarah, sometimes 
her voice and the guitar (at one point I said to myself 
"I'd like to be that guitar right now") also fry me.  
So it isn't just the bass, it must be something else,
tuning or chords or whatever (chords with a hook?).

     They suffered from none of the problems I mentioned with
the earlier bands.   I noticed the guitar solos a little
more than last time, and the keyboards a bit less, though.

   At the end, Sarah did an impromptu encore duet with 
Tom Hooper of Ginger, of the musical virus   
Girl From Ipanini (I forget how to spell it).   It is one
of those tunes that can run through your head for hours
if you let it take hold, but you can't remember the lyrics.
"The girl from ipanini goes walking, and when she's walking,
she's ????, and then she goes to the sea" or something.   
It was silly but they did a great job together, the audience
ate it up, and then the videos ushered us out.

After I left, maybe because of the bad air and ardent crowd,
I felt down, so I took (oh yeah) my Nettwerk free grab bag
containing posters, postcards and a RC CD single, and went
on home, stuck some LPs and tapes on (my CD player is at
least temporarily dead, although I will hook up my portable shortly
and attempt the rub or something on the big one) and then,
not after midnight, but after 12:30 (Newfoundlander) I went
on down to the beach and on impulse off to the Railway for
last call.    That was a mistake because the band was rude and
ended early, before I got there.   Still, I had a ginger ale
and an odd owl's (O'Doul's),  showed a loon to the owl before
tipping it to the beartender, and rushed home  perked up by
the people (whereas sometimes they would  have irritated me).

   Oh, and to prevent the virus from taking hold, on the beach
I invoked an anti-virus --- I went "Val ree   Val ra,  ...." 
for a second and it worked.   So maybe valerian and sunshine   
is a cure for   brAIDS  or is that bra-ids.    Anyway, she didn't 
have breads Sat, just sweet breaths tuned to soul D, not mould.  I
was rapt as she rapped and wrapped me up, but it was con-sensual,
no can oil, eh (besides Ferron says  don't use oil).

Some random notes from later:
   tea and oranges ---- tea = hot matrix, oranges=crystal, 
  all the way from china=tunnel through the earth, related
to flowers and granite, also due to the piezoelectric effect
seismic or acoustic waves can cause localized temperature
and other variations in the crystal matrix, which could
act like a  computer chip in a way.   So, that still doesn't
solve the transportation problem.???

[the garbled post had everything from the vertical bar below
on snipped out, by the listserv or the long distance connection]

    the meaning of five --- is there perhaps | an unstable isotope
of lithium containing three protons and two  neutrons?   From a
quick glance in geochemistry books there seems to be no mass five
isotope but a mass 6 and 7.   Perhaps the mass 5 is a transition
unstable catalyst for an important nu-clear reaction (ha).
Also perhaps the lower percentage isotope (I think 6) may be
more important for mood disorder control than the other one,
so by separating out the small factor isotope people could
be treated without having the adverse side effects.   Does the
small factor isotope come from the sun only whereas the other
is a secondary daughter product in the earth?   Or is it the
other way around?   And what does that have to do with the
price of tea in Murchie's.   (I don't know why, but that last
word is important, I had to break the china, probably I'm
being had again given the time of the month.  No bull here, though,
just the usual d d.)

David, now hugry, so bye.

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